Title

Engaging Different Learning Styles with the Walking Classroom Program

Location

Rural Strand - Bowie C

Focused Area

Youth-At-Risk in Rural Settings

Relevance to Focused Area

not avaliable

Primary Strand

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance to Primary Strand

The Walking Classroom is an award-winning, innovative, nonprofit program that engages students, especially those who may struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day and being “talked at” by a teacher, students are able to get out of the class and into some fresh air – walking for 20 minutes while they listen to a custom-written, kid-friendly, educational podcast. The best part is that students don’t even realize how much they are benefitting from the program – they think they’re “getting out of something.” Students come back to class refreshed, in better moods, better behaved, and ready to learn even more.

Brief Program Description

The Walking Classroom is an award-winning, innovative, nonprofit program that engages students, especially those who may struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day and being “talked at” by a teacher, students are able to get out of the class and into some fresh air – walking for 20 minutes while they listen to a custom-written, kid-friendly, educational podcast

Summary

The Walking Classroom is a national award-winning nonprofit program that strengthens the physical, mental, and academic health of students. The program builds core academic content knowledge, health literacy, and listening stamina while engaging different learning styles and getting youth some desperately needed fresh air and exercise. While all students stand to benefit from using The Walking Classroom, youth from rural areas, where disengagement, low academic achievement, and childhood obesity are not uncommon, often benefit the most. The program, designed for upper elementary and middle school students, is simple: students enjoy a brisk 20-minute walk (preferably outside) while listening to custom-written, kid-friendly podcasts that are pre-loaded onto audio devices (“WalkKits”). Each podcast begins with a brief health literacy message. Students are excited about the opportunity to use technology during instructional time, and teachers appreciate that the program is ready to go out of the box and requires no prep to implement. The program is not a one-time intervention; it is designed to be used throughout the school year.

After a review of the program and the science behind it, participants will have the opportunity to “test drive” the program themselves and enjoy a 15-minute walk while listening to a Walking Classroom educational podcast. Upon return, participants will collaborate and brainstorm how the “walk, listen and learn” method can be customized to fit their needs and the needs of those they serve. Participants will also learn how to download 10 Walking Classroom podcasts and lesson plans for free, and they will also be instructed how to apply for a grant to receive a donated set of Walking Classroom materials.

Evidence

Thanks to foundation funding, we were able to do county wide roll outs to several rural counties in North Carolina during the 2014-15 school year. End of year survey data from 37 teachers of this roll out reported the following:

  • 100% agreed their students were enthusiastic about doing TWC
  • 100% agreed their students seemed to be in a better mood after a TWC lesson
  • 100% agreed that listening to Walking Classroom podcasts while walking strengthens student understanding of curriculum content
  • 100% said TWC was an effective tool to help increase class discussion and engagement among students
  • 94% agreed their students’ attitudes about walking and exercise improved after participating in TWC
  • 86% noticed an increase in health awareness and healthy choices in their students after implementing TWC
  • 100% would recommend the program to a colleague without reservation

Survey results from 930 students using the program were very powerful and positive as well:

  • 89% agreed that TWC helps them understand content
  • 82% said they knew more about healthy habits since participating in TWC
  • 74% said they make healthier choices since participating in TWC
  • 78% said they enjoyed walking more since starting TWC
  • 72% agreed that after walking, they were better able to concentrate throughout the day
  • 70% said they were in better physical shape since starting TWC
  • 49% said they share what they learn from TWC with their families

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Nicole Hunter works as a Program Facilitator at The Walking Classroom Institute. She attended North Carolina Central University, where she found her passion for advocating for youth in the community. After graduating, she began to work for a nonprofit that matched at-risk juveniles involved in the court system with mentors. She went on to develop her own program that focused on developing leadership skills, healthy behaviors, and college preparedness for at-risk middle school girls. Her desire to positively impact youth led her to The Walking Classroom to further her passion of improving the physical, mental, and academic health of at-risk students.

Start Date

10-23-2016 1:00 PM

End Date

10-23-2016 3:30 PM

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Oct 23rd, 1:00 PM Oct 23rd, 3:30 PM

Engaging Different Learning Styles with the Walking Classroom Program

Rural Strand - Bowie C

The Walking Classroom is an award-winning, innovative, nonprofit program that engages students, especially those who may struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day and being “talked at” by a teacher, students are able to get out of the class and into some fresh air – walking for 20 minutes while they listen to a custom-written, kid-friendly, educational podcast